The 6 P’s to Success: Becoming a Better Golfer and a Better Learner
Twenty Years of competitive sports and competition and it still didn’t click. It took joining my College Golf Team to finally understand the famous quote by Vince Lombardi, “Practice doesn’t make perfect, Perfect Practice makes Perfect.”
Or as my college golf coach would write in his emails. Remember the 6 P’s.
Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance.
As many times as people say this, one cannot fully understand what it means until you witness people who put this mentality to work.
Practice is defined on Dictionary.com as follows:
“Repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency”
This gets to the crux of the “how” and the “why” people perform this sacred art form called practice.
How – Repeated and Systematic
Why – Acquiring skill or proficiency
If you want to improve your golf game and make the jump from shooting in the 90s to the 80s or the 80s to the 70s look no further than practice (regardless of what Allen Iverson said in his famous press conference).
Going to the driving range and smashing drivers off the back net 300 yards out like Happy Gilmore, while impressive to the average golfer, is not practice. That is an ego fueled rampage; a cry for attention and approval. I know this because that was me for the majority of my life. Dr. Gio Valiante calls this “Ego Golf” in his book Fearless Golf. The opposite of “Ego Golf” is “Mastery Golf.”
Practicing with collegiate golfers, two of whom are now professionals who have always had (at least since I’ve known them) this Mastery-Golf mindset, shed light on a whole new universe of deliberate practice and alternative approaches for a more complete golf game. Putting drills, chipping games, up and down contests, full swing video analysis and all kinds of drills with the use of towels and head covers. These are the types of tools you must use in pursuit of a better golf game.
Long bombs at the driving range brings a short term feeling of success. But when you step up the first hole at the local muni course and there are trees left, water right and a stream running across the fairway 280 yards out, what is the point of hitting all those drivers on the range?
Most people don’t have the luxury of playing with great golfers and learning by example. Thank God for the internet. And thank God for books.
The turning point in my golf journey was winning the club championship at my home course after my first year playing college golf. I had not even come close before. What changed? Practice. The time commitment didn’t increase. But how I as practicing, and why I was practicing made the biggest impact.
The shift I went through transitioning from a golf player to a golf student was a long journey. The most helpful advice was not technical advice, but mental advice, a lot of which came from three books as well as advice and conversations with teammates. I highly recommend these three books to anyone seriously interested in making this same quantum leap in their own journey as a student of the game.
In no particular order:
1.) Golf is Not a Game of Perfect by Bob Rotella
2.) Fearless Golf by Gio Valiante
3.) Unconscious Putting by Dave Stockton
Believe in the process. Trust the process. Enjoy the process.